Bengaluru, April 19 :
The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) today, reaffirmed its support to Net Neutrality and made a strong pitch for ‘Net Equality’ that will enable access to Internet for a billion Indians as part of the Government’s Digital India vision.
Urging all stakeholders to have a comprehensive and informed debate on the subject of Net Neutrality and clearing misconceptions that have arisen from recent public debate over the same and concerns over operators who are trying to control the consumers’ access to the Internet, COAI, in a statement said “We support an open Internet and believe that consumers should decide what to do online. Our job is to enable consumers to benefit from that freedom. We offer choice and do not block or provide any preferential access to any website or app.
The Industry Association added that India’s telecom revolution has empowered over 950 million citizens through affordable services and the Internet revolution must now touch every citizen of the country. And its members are fully committed to investing in the Government of India’s Digital India vision, and therefore need an enabling environment that promotes the growth of the entire Internet ecosystem.
Create an Enabling and Equal Environment
Without infrastructure and investment, there will be no Internet access. The operators have invested billions of dollars in license fees, spectrum fees and network roll-outs. Yet the Industry still makes negative return on the capital employed.
The industry estimates the country would need an additional capital outlay of Rs 300,000 to 500,000 crores over the next 10 years in spectrum, new technology, equipment, towers, optical fibre backbone, etc., to meet the PM’s vision of Digital India, and connect 1 billion Indians to the exciting world of Internet. The need of the hour, therefore, is to have a sustainable industry that has the ability to invest in growth of data services and connectivity to all.
(This article was published on April 19, 2015)